August 12, 2022

Washington Nationals Game 21 Review: Pujols homers into record books and win column

Albert Pujols homered twice, including his 500th career homer — becoming just the 26th player in Major League history to reach the mark — to lead the Los Angeles Angels over the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Tuesday before 21,915 at Nationals Park.

The loss drops the Nats to 11-10 on the season.

Nats starter Taylor Jordan just didn’t have it from the start. J.B. Shuck doubled down the left field line leading off, and Mike Trout reached on an error by Anthony Rendon. Rendon bobbled the sharply hit ball, then recovered but threw wide of first. Albert Pujols then destroyed a belt high 90-MPH sinker that didn’t sink into the 10th row to straightaway left to put the Angels up 3-0 before most had settled into their seats. It was Pujols’ 499th homer of his career.

Jordan coaxed a lazy fly ball from Raul Ibanez for the first out, but Howie Kendrick smoked a double to the right field gap. Kendrick then went to third on Erick Aybar’s ground out to first. Jordan plunked David Freese, and Chris Ianetta made him pay, depositing a line drive single in front of Bryce Harper in left to plate the Angles fourth run of the inning.

The four runs represented the fifth time already this season the Nats have allowed at least three runs in the first inning and the ninth time they’ve given up two runs or more.

The Nats started chipping away at the deficit in the third. Sandy Leon doubled down the left field line and went to third on Jordan’s bunt single. Denard Span walked to load ‘em up with no outs. Skaggs uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering to Danny Espinosa and Leon chugged home with the Nats first run. Jordan then hit Espinosa in the front leg to load the bases once again. Jayson Werth then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, but Jordan jogged home with the second run of the inning.

In the fifth inning, everyone at Nats Park got to witness history. With Trout aboard on a single, Albert Pujols crushed a fastball to the Red Porch, becoming the 26th player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. Pujols hit his 400th at Nats Park as well, off Jordan Zimmermann on August 26, 2010. The most recent player to join the 500 Home Run Club previously was Gary Sheffield, who accomplished the feat April 17, 2009.

The Angels got another in the eighth against lefty Jerry Blevins. With one out, Erick Aybar doubled to the left field corner and stole third, though Matt Williams challenged the play and lost. Aybar then scored on David Freese’s sacrifice fly to right field.

The Nats failed to record a base hit after Jordan’s infield single in the third inning.

The two clubs face each other in the third game of the series Wednesday at 7:05 pm, with Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 2.88) hosting Jared Weaver (1-2, 4.74).

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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